How to Boost Your Immune System with a Plant-Based Diet & Healthy Lifestyle
A strong immune system is our best defence against infectious illness and disease. Today, I am sharing some tips to help you boost your immune system and maintain a healthy lifestyle:
1.) Eat Well
Heather Russell, Vegan Society Dietitian, says "While we follow government guidance about coronavirus, we can certainly strive to look after ourselves in other ways. For example, we can encourage each other to keep active at home, eat well as much as possible and take steps to promote mental wellbeing."
2.) Exercise Regularly
- Lower rates of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, colon and breast cancer, and depression.
- Less risk of a hip or vertebral fracture.
- A higher level of cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness.
- Weight maintenance and have a healthier body mass / composition.
3.) Get A Good Night's Sleep
Sleep is vital for our overall wellbeing. According to The National Sleep Foundation, your body needs sufficient sleep so that your body can make fewer cytokines. Cytokines are a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. 18-64 year olds need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep per night, compared to children aged 6-13, who need a whopping 9-11 hours per night. Sleeping in the dark ensures sufficient melatonin production.
4.) Reduce Stress Levels
Stressful times in our lives can have a huge impact on our mental and physical health. Stress can lower our immunity, making us more susceptible to bacteria and viruses. It's really important that we recognise when we are stressed so we can take time out for self-care and rejuvenation. There are many ways to relieve stress, from exercising and meditation to therapy and socialising with loved ones.
For more advice on how to manage stress, please click here.
5.) Drink Alcohol in Moderation
According to DrinkAware, the short and long-term effects of alcohol can affect your body, lifestyle and mental health. There are many reasons why we shouldn't drink excessively, but the good news is that there are many non-alcoholic beverages on offer, from healthy juices to non-alcoholic beers, wines and spirits! If you need advice on how to cut back, please click here.
6.) Take Steps to Avoid Infection
We've all been hearing the NHS tips for minimising the risk of infection, which includes regularly washing your hands with soap and water (do this for at least 20 seconds). For more advice, please see the NHS guidelines here.
Author: Victoria Forbes-Watson